Thursday, November 12, 2009

Unexpected Pleasures at Mud Pond

I must be getting old. I hauled my boat off to the river today, then stood there staring at the gray choppy waves with a cold wind worming down into my ears and said: Nope. Not today. Too cold. So where could I go to get my nature fix? The mountain trails were alive with hunters (I could hear their guns) and besides, I was wearing clogs, for Pete's sake. I wasn't going to hike very far in those (I'd worn them expecting to shed them for paddling boots). So Mud Pond it was: sheltered from the wind, no hunting allowed, and a nice easy trail I could manage in useless shoes. And I was not disappointed. The sun even came out for me there.

My first surprise was the abundance of red dragonflies. Aren't they supposed to be gone by now? But there they were, darting about down close to the water's edge, basking in the sun on nearly every downed log.

I continued along the water's edge, noting all kinds of signs of beavers, and wondering why I never see a clear beaver footprint pressed into the mud. Maybe the limbs they are dragging sweep them away. I did see some other critter's prints (raccoon, I'm guessing) right down where the water meets the shore.

Climbing up the steep bank, attempting to reach the trail without losing my shoes, I caught this little Red Oak sapling with a ray of sunlight shining through its leaves.

Looking up, I saw what looked like a huge wrinkly eye staring at me from a beech trunk with the texture of elephant skin.

There were both Canada Geese and Hooded Mergansers floating serenely on the pond when I arrived, but they promptly moved out of camera range when they saw (or heard) me coming.
I found a hiding place behind this tree root with a perfectly circular peeping hole, and just sat for the longest time. After a while the geese returned to my end of the pond. If you peer hard enough through the circle (and click on the photo), you just might see them out there.

As the thin cloud-cover thickened and the sun declined behind the mountains, the surface of the water glowed with a soft pearly light, creating perfect silhouettes of the weeds that grow by the shore.

When I first came over here today, I was feeling a little grumpy. I'd hoped for a paddle, maybe the last one I'd have for the year, not a walk around this same old pond with its same old stuff I'd seen a hundred times before, grumble, grumble, grumble. Silly me. It may be the same old spot on the map, but each day, each hour, each moment, it becomes all new.


Ellen Rathbone said...

What beautiful pics, Jackie! You really have an eye for nature photography.

And yes, those are raccoon tracks. :)

Carolyn H said...

Wow, that perfectly circular "peephole" is pretty unusual--and makes for a great photo, too!

Carolyn H.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thank you, Ellen and Carolyn, for your appreciative comments. With so much natural beauty all around, it's not hard to find something amazing to photograph. These modern digital cameras also make it easy. I would never have become a photographer if I'd had to spend much time in a darkroom.

Lindsey said...

This entry really cheered me up (I noticed my seasonal affective disorder kicking in this week), and I totally understand getting to Moreau in a grumpy state and it going away while there because there's always something new to see. For me today it was 8 lady common mergansers floating by and the park looking anew with a soft white mist everywhere.

Great photo of the prints! I'm unskilled in tracking, but my initial thought was raccoon as well. And that peeping hole is awesome!!

Garden Lily said...

Your photos are wonderful, and I love that "eye" in the beech trunk - what a great catch.

That looks just like "my" red dragonfly, all the way up here in Vancouver, BC. Pretty neat!